Social media, it’s all fun and games until someone loses a lawsuit. Last week we looked at some of the benefits and risks that an organisation needs to consider when deciding whether or not they want to implement Enterprise 2.0 technologies. This week we’re going to delve a little deeper into the risk side, and look at some of the legal risks associated with Enterprise 2.0. Who’d have thought that there were so many ways you could break the law while tweeting?
The legal implications of organisations branching out into the use of social media are huge, there are so many things that need to be considered, like copyright, privacy, defamation, fair work practices, loss of confidential information and loss of reputation (just to name a few). So, what can an organisation do to avoid falling victim to these risks?
Well, the organisation that I’ve chosen to look at is CASA. What on earth is a CASA you ask? Well CASA stands for Civil Aviation Safety Authority and they are responsible for “enhancing and promoting aviation safety through effective regulation and by encouraging the wider aviation community to embrace and deliver higher standards of safety.” (CASA, 2012) So basically CASA’s job is to regulate civil air operations in Australia and the operation of Australian aircraft overseas. (Keep us safe while we fly, that sort of stuff.) Do you recall when when Tiger Airways was suspended from flying last year because there were doing some shonky things like flying their planes below the minimum permitted altitude? Well that was CASA who decided to ground their planes.
So in the case of CASA, let’s have a bit of a look at the sort of things can go wrong:
- Loss of confidential information – a federal government organisation such as CASA has plenty of super-secret information tucked away, it would be huge problem for them if the following occurred: an ignorant CASA employee tweets
- Defamation – cranky staff jumping onto either their own or the organisation’s facebook page/twitter account/social network and venting their frustrations about another co-worker or manager.
- Reputation Risk – staff making inappropriate tweets via the CASA twitter account that make the company look bad.
- Bullying &/or Harassment – CASA staff using CASA sponsored social networking mediums to attack other members of staff.
- Negligence – if CASA were to know that staff were bullying other staff via facebook/twitter/etc and not take any action.
- Wrongful Dismissal – an employee gets sacked for doing bad stuff on social media and claims that they didn’t deserve it.
So how could CASA protect themselves from some of the above mentioned risks:
Step 1: Get an awesome social media policy that lays out in black and white what staff can and cannot do on social media.
Step 2: Make sure that staff know that it’s there. One of those dreaded company wide emails may need to be sent, or an announcement could be made on the company’s intranet.
Step 3: Copies off all of the posts to the company twitter account and social network will need to be kept. This is necessary if something does go wrong and they need evidence.
Step 4: Enforce the social media policy.
Simple in theory, maybe not so easy in practice, but I think that it’s worth the risk.